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Who We Are

Manifesto

Our Mission

Our mission is to empower and connect people through the healing practice of glassblowing and ceramics.

We serve those who have been impacted by structural or individual trauma, including violently-injured youth, veterans, formerly-incarcerated individuals, undocumented and immigrant populations and Chicago Public School students on the South and West sides. We help people heal primarily by teaching glassblowing and ceramics - media that are typically expensive and difficult to access, but by their very nature elicit healing and build community. We provide a safe space, linkages to relevant wrap-around services, and professional and educational pathways for under-represented communities in the arts.

Our Vision

All Chicagoans, regardless of background or identity, have access to diverse, high quality art professionals, tools, and spaces in order to imagine and build creative and empowered communities that are safe, fair, and healthy.

Our Values

Art is a tool for Social Justice. 

  • People are not defined by their challenges or limitations. We are committed to amplifying the creative voices of diverse populations with attention to differences related to poverty, age, ability, mental health, legal status, gender, sexuality, racial and ethnic identity, language, and more.
  • Everyone should have access to high quality tools and resources to add to our creative history.
  • Teaching and learning are mutual and reciprocal processes that equalize us.

Art is Healing. 

  • Artmaking provides young people creative, healthy ways to decrease anxiety and worry, soothe, and regulate emotions and behavior. 
  • Art-making expands our capacity for joy by strengthening a person’s sense of self, self-esteem, connection to others and overall awareness and discovery about identity and worth.

Art is Community. 

  • Creating a physically, emotionally, and relationally safe space for collaborative art-making can build the connections and confidence amongst its participants that leads to a sense of belonging, pride, and, eventually, ownership, leadership, and responsibility.
  • Art promotes empathy by letting us reimagine who we are and imagine ourselves as others.

Art is Growth. 

  • Art as a practice demonstrates that failure is one part of human growth and encourages creative problem solving. 
  • Artmaking creates a safe environment for decision making to help young people navigate conflict, and stabilize crisis or stress.
  • Artmaking acts as a bridge to wrap around services and additional educational and career pathways. 
  • Art helps people rediscover themselves, allowing them to craft new futures.